BRATTLEBORO >> Riding the waves of an increased interest in microbreweries and in the hopes of attracting people to the area, the Brattleboro North End Association created what is now known as Brattleboro Brewers Festival. Hosted by local radio station, WTSA, and in its 5th year, the festival has become a highly anticipated and hyper-local event.
Craft beers and ciders may take center stage, but the three food vendors may just steal the show. From BLTs made with local cheddar to drunken noodles, everyone will find what they are craving. Between the smell of wood-fired pizza, the taste of fresh grilled cheese sandwiches and the sight of hybrid Thai-Laos food, the festival will be a culinary adventure.
Ro's Petite Fete will have its locally adored food truck at the festival serving up delicious sandwiches, featuring Grafton cheese and Rock Hill breads. Also on the menu will be hot dogs, chili, Blue Sky natural sodas and more. Ro's can be found serving lunch outside Grafton Cheese on Linden Street in Brattleboro.
Brattleboro's Rigani Wood-Fired Pizza will be bringing its custom built, state-of-the-art catering trailer and serving up 10-inch cheese, pepperoni, sausage and veggie pizzas. Rigani features local produce and carefully selected ingredients. It is a fixture at the Brattleboro Farmers' Market and can also be found catering numerous local events.
Joining them will be A Taste Of Thai, also a Brattleboro favorite. This food truck will be serving up its trademark mixture of Thai and Laos cuisine. For the festival, it will be offering veggie spring rolls, Pad Thai, drunken noodles, egg rolls, chicken satay and fried rice. The mobile truck can be found daily right off Exit 3 of Interstate 91, as well as at special events and private parties.
Joining these varied food vendors will be 33 breweries from all across New England and neighboring New York. Brewers range from the well-know Long Trail and Magic Hat to the smaller Whetstone and Hermit Thrush. Each brewery has been personally invited and are encouraged to bring a flagship brew to share and promote to people who may be new to their brand.
Upon arrival, each festival-goer will be given a ticket. At the end of the day, they will vote with that ticket for their favorite brew. Each brewery brings something unique and different to sample. This uniqueness may help them earn the award for the Brattleboro Brewers Festival for that year.
Each brewery is also encouraged to bring their brewmasters with them. They get to spend time talking to customers telling about each brew.
"It's like an education while you are there," said Kelli Corbeil, president and owner of WTSA radio. The atmosphere reflects the shared appreciation the brewers and the attendees have for the craft. Music, food, and micro-brews come together on Brattleboro's Vermont Argiculture Business Education Center campus, a restored idyllic farm.
With the Green Mountains as the backdrop and over 50 local volunteers, the event has been successful at creating a welcoming and happy space.
"It is this really inviting and beautiful environment," said Corbeil.
The Brattleboro Brewers Festival will take place Saturday, May 14, from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are available before the event for $30 and can be purchased in Brattleboro at Hermit Thrush Brewery or Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery, in Greenfield, Mass., at The People's Pint or online at www.BrattleboroBrewersFestival.com. Tickets will also be available at the gate the day of the event (cash only) for $35. Tickets include entrance to the event, first eight sample pours, souvenir Brattleboro Brewers Festival tasting glass, live music performance by Mister Charlie and the Blues For Breakfast band, and a chance to win raffle prizes from attending brewers. Also available are designated driver tickets for $5.
No one under the age of 21 will be allowed to enter the festival. No children or pets are allowed. Positive identification will be required at the entrance. This is a cash only event, please plan accordingly. Taxi service will be provided by Brattleboro Taxi. It will be offering a reduced fare of $5 to anywhere in Brattleboro when presented with a festival ticket.
For more information or questions, contact WTSA at 802-254-4577 or visit www.BrattleboroBrewersFestival.com.
Michelle Stephens is a regular contributor to the Reformer, including her twice-a-month column, Juicebox Confession. Read more of her work on her blog at www.JuiceboxConfession.com or contact her at JuiceboxConfession@gmail.com.